Prudish Mastercard About To Make Life Difficult For Tons Of Websites

from the content-moderation-at-the-financial-layer dept

For all the attention that OnlyFans got for its shortlived plan to ban sexually explicit content in response to “pressures” from financial partners, as we’ve discussed, it was hardly the only website to face such moderation pressures from financial intermediaries. You can easily find articles from years back highlighting how payment processors were getting deeply involved in forcing website to moderate content.

And the OnlyFans situation wasn’t entirely out of nowhere either. Back in April we noted that Mastercard had announced its new rules for streaming sites, and other sites, such as Patreon, have already adjusted their policies to comply with Mastercard’s somewhat prudish values.

However, as those new rules that were announced months ago are set to become official in a few days, the practical realities of what Mastercard requires are becoming clear, and it’s a total mess. Websites have received “compliance packages” in which they have to set up a page to allow reports for potential abuse. In theory, this sounds reasonable — if there really is dangerous or illegal activity happening on a site, making it easier for people to report it makes sense. But some of it is highly questionable:

The form features a checklist of clickable boxes that anyone visiting an adult site is encouraged to use to report what they believe to be “exposed personally identifiable information,” “impersonation,” “underage material,” “copyright/trademark infringement” and “spam” as well as “prostitution or trafficking,” “weapons,” “drugs” and “other.”

First off “prostitution” and “trafficking” are different things, and lumping them together is already somewhat problematic. As a webmaster explained to Xbiz, this seems to have come from “Morality in Media” — a horrifically repressed group of prudish busybodies who renamed themselves the “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (NCOSE) and who were a major force behind FOSTA, which they admitted was part of their plan to outlaw all pornography. Last year, we noted that the group had put a major focus on demanding credit card companies stop working with porn sites, and some of Mastercard’s new rules are clearly designed to appease them.

“Groups like NCOSE are convinced that all adult content falls under ‘prostitution or trafficking,’” the webmaster noted. “This form is just encouraging them to bury us in paperwork that won’t accomplish anything.”

Not only that, but every such report is cc’d back to Mastercard, which seems bizarrely stupid. Of course, as we’ve seen with things like copyright takedowns, having the mechanism means that it will get abused. A lot. And then campaigners like NCOSE will try to use the number of “reports” (not proof of anything actually illegal) as proof of “illegal activity” and push for new regulations.

Also, the rules requiring the form to be linked from every page is likely to have much wider consequences as well:

The webmaster also noted that the form essentially forces all adult sites to add the words “underage material,” “prostitution or trafficking,” “weapons” and “drugs” to their metadata, which then puts them at risk of AI shadowbans or even state surveillance.

“I don’t want that metadata associated with my brands,” they protested.

As we’ve said in other situations, one of the big questions and concerns that comes about when infrastructure layer partners get into the content moderation game is that it matters how much competition there is the market. If websites could simply drop Mastercard maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But, unfortunately, right now, it’s hard for a site that wants to accept payments to not work with Mastercard. Both it and Visa (and to a lesser extent, American Express) are basically required if you want to accept payments for anything. Perhaps that will change over time (and things like this might help drive that change). But in the meantime, it certainly appears that a disingenuous and dishonest campaign by a prudish group that hates pornography has convinced Mastercard to make life difficult on lots of websites.

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Comments on “Prudish Mastercard About To Make Life Difficult For Tons Of Websites”

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That One Guysays:

'A bare ankle, truly the sign of a depraved society!'

If you don’t like porn, don’t look at it.

If you are concerned that some of the people involved aren’t doing so willingly, put your time and money into efforts to find and help them.

People like that are all sorts of hypocritical and disgusting because the results of their efforts isn’t actually to help the victims they are hiding being and exploiting but merely to brush things under the rug, to pretend that if they can’t see if it doesn’t exist and they don’t have to think about it.

Scratch the surface of people like that pack of prudes and odds are good you’ll find someone guilty of the very thing they would condemn others for, a willingness to exploit others for their own ends.

DV Henkel-Wallacesays:

Let's assign the blame where it really is due

I really doubt MasterCard wants to turn down revenue.

Typically these decisions are due to pressure from congresspeople or other regulators (State AGs are too small potatoes for bug international networks like MC, but, as we have seen, can hit smaller entities like backpage).

This is similar to the relations between government and the telecoms (or not — look at Joseph Naccio).

I think Apple is indeed choosing to avoid certain (cough) content on its platforms. I really doubt MC cares.

Discuss Itsays:


What? People PAY for porn on the Internet? Who da thunk it!
Humor aside: Republicans seem to want to promulgate sumptuary regulations; Why, I’m not sure unless it’s because their personal constitution requires they firmly shove their noses into other people’s crotches. For a party that claims personal freedom and responsibility they spend a lot of time passing laws on what other people do in their bedrooms, bathrooms and doctors offices.


Conservative groups want to make porn illegal by putting pressure on visa mastercard to stop payments to adult websites
They want to deny sex workers income from appearing on any adult websites
Like fosta drove escorts onto the streets by making ads for sex workers online illegal
This is a long term campaign by right wing groups
Most websites rely on subscriptions or payments to acess content they will not exist if the can’t recieve credit card payments

That Anonymous Cowardsays:

What we really need is someone with "Go Fuck Yourself" money to open a credit card company.
They’d quickly become the largest processor & there would be no shareholders to threaten.
90% of what these assholes are trying to ban isn’t illegal, they just don’t like it.
I guess no one ever taught them its okay if you don’t want to, but you can’t make everyone else not do it.

Another major city can no longer use their water because of high lead levels… and the focus of these idiots is if people can use MC to see porn. Those are some really fucked up morals you have there Skippy, pretty sure when Jesus comes back its just going to be to bitchslap you.



"We believe in a world free from sexual abuse and exploitation, so we work every day to build that world · Defending Human Dignity · Opposing Sexual Exploitation."

Love this idea. But.

1. You make it easy for others to take advantage of the situation and SIT in the background, and make money off of being the intermediary for ladies TRYING to make a living.

2 Jobs. Why are people doing this type of thing? Easy. They Need a job, they WANT a job, but they cant find it in THEIR AREAS. There are other reason, but thats the big one.

3 how Many of the people in your group are Stay at home women? Those that have husbands that Make enough money yo afford a Family of 5 or more in 1 house, that big enough for All of you. That makes you a Bored rich person, with nothing to do.

4 Being " your brothers keeper", is a nice thing to do. But there are other things you COULD be doing to help. Create more jobs for them, would help. Force the gov. to QUIT putting money into the economy and inflating things. To tell STATES to quit raising the Property taxes, when SOME idiot is willing to pay $1m + for ground that isnt worth 1/2 that much. Lower the rents in most cities. Or just get a hint and Find something else to complain about, that dont affect you at All.

Jealousy, is such a bad thing about humans, and leads to MANY of our problems. Go watch some porn and see what your husband WOULD like you to do.


According to, the NYTimes’ "The Children of Pornhub" article by Nicholas Kristof is to blame for at least one institutional investor contacting the CEO of Mastercard to be more aggressive in policing this content.

From my understanding, Mr. Kristof has a history of writing articles on behalf of Morality in Media a.k.a. NCOSE for the NYTimes. I personally have been unable to convince the one institutional investor I know that 100% perfect enforcement on a large user-generated-content platform is impossible. That the investor I spoke with predominately finances tech-based endeavors yet expects perfection from user-generated-content platforms (when society itself hasn’t managed perfection against all forms of fraud) depresses me.


Let’s see here..

Pornography = good
People using certain words = bad
Prudish busybodies who hate pornography = bad
Prudish busybodies who want strangers fired or worse for using certain words = good
Speech platforms suppressing disfavored speech = good
Payment platforms refusing payments for disfavored speech = bad

Techdirt principles in action!!


Double Standards

This pornography witch hunt should start in the Bible. The first written incestuous text is in the Book of Genesis. It portrays Sarah as marrying Abraham, her half-brother, without criticizing the close genetic relationship between them, and the Book of Samuel treats the marriage of a royal prince to his half-sister as unusual, rather than wicked.
The Bible does not mention pornography specifically.
Where does this "pornography " definition come from in the first place? The more "civilized" the population, the more prohibitions are made on sex or unclothed bodies! The aborigines or Indigenous peoples have no preconceived notions of pornography. This has been created by extreme religious people to exert control over others.

That One Guysays:

Re: Let's assign the blame where it really is due

If Mastercard doesn’t want the blame then they need to name and shame(well, name anyway, I doubt you can shame certain groups/people) the people/groups pressuring them, making clear that they’re only doing actions like this under duress and that if people want to get angry with someone then there are much better targets for that ire.

Without those names the only one to blame is Mastercard so unless they want to chime in they’ve no-one to blame but themselves for shouldering all the attention.

That Anonymous Cowardsays:


The real drive behind this is they learned 1 lesson about what they do… never pay a hooker with a check & never let it bounce. (Thanks Jerry).

They want the illusion that porn is is the worst thing in the world while they still privately enjoy it.
Most people don’t actually give a shit about porn, they just don’t want it shoved in their face & I can respect that.
These idiots believe this is the real bad thing behind everything so we have to ban it, while their husbands are off getting pegged by their hooker.

You’d think after all of the times the moral campaigns in this nation have failed spectacularly they’d stop doing the same thing over & over.



Or just get a hint and Find something else to complain about, that dont affect you at All.

I don’t think that’s what you meant to convey. The fact is that they are, right now, complaining about something that doesn’t affect them at all**. What they should be doing is complaining about something that DOES indeed affect them, and hopefully more deeply than one might expect.

** If porn is somehow actually affecting them directly, then I wanna know where to sit and watch, and how much for a big bucket of popcorn. After all, they want to get all up in my personal and private business, then turn about should be fair play, shouldn’t it?

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: What?

"For a party that claims personal freedom and responsibility they spend a lot of time passing laws on what other people do in their bedrooms, bathrooms and doctors offices."

Ah, but it’s not their fault they haveto push for regulations. If only every person was a stand-up decent church-going, god-fearing citizen with a keen sense of morals and common decency they wouldn’t have to force people. Same way they wouldn’t have to beat that stupid bitch or boy back home if s/he didn’t keep on provoking them, really.

And yes, that’s usually the way these people think.

The assumption seems to be that if what they consider outrageous isn’t prevented by all means the logical outcome is their families all break apart because the teen girl is pregnant after having sold herself on Tinder, the husband spontaneously discovered his inner gayness and marched off to debase himself on open camera in some godless sinhole wearing leather and singing "YMCA", And the youngest son was captured and eaten by the liberal cannibal cult where Hillary Clinton now wears his skin as a mask. At some point there’ll be…black people involved. In tan suits. Possibly jews. With space lasers.

This…didn’t use to be the republican party. Not the one from the 40’s and 50’s at least, where religion was viewed sceptically and science embraced. Todays republican party is the democratic party before WW2 – the one which had no policy save "Give us people to look down on".

I. Kinnocksays:

Re: What? -- HOT topic! Drew out XOMBIE "Discuss It"!

More than TWO YEARS since last comment.

ODD accounts usually show up when only a few for Maz’s dull pieces. Odds of "Discuss It" popping up were near zero, and yet here it is when most helpful to make the site look active. You’ll see this pattern frequently, just watch for it.

Also helping a lot today is the wacky inhuman "ECA", which after 14 years, is at last verging on making sense — and has dropped the runs of periods that were its habit for 13 years.

Without the half-dozen regulars making multiple comments, Techdirt would be a nearly ghost site. — And who knows how much astro-turfing the fanboys do by commenting not logged into account? I bet the usual half-dozen to dozen fanboys make over 90 percent of comments. — Most of them inane, just filler to glance at.


Re: Let’s see here..

Pornography = good

Yup. Then again, there’s certain exceptions to that, as I’m sure you know.

People using certain words = bad

Which words? For example, would a server at McDonalds referring to you as a pin-headed douchetard be a good thing?

Prudish busybodies who hate pornography = bad

Yup again – because fuck them and their religious bullshit.

Prudish busybodies who want strangers fired or worse for using certain words = good

I guess that depends, right? If you broadcast your nonsense to the public without asking, you might get some undesired attention. That’s not the fault of those providing the attention, right? Otherwise what would be the point of saying it in the 1st place? Take my McDonalds worker example…would your fee-fees be hurt if you came back the next day and he greeted you by saying "welcome back douchetard! What does your fat ass need today?"

Speech platforms suppressing disfavored speech = good

Yup, it’s their platforms. You can fuck off somewhere else if you don’t like it.

Payment platforms refusing payments for disfavored speech = bad

Makes no difference to me. For anywhere that MC/Visa/Amex isn’t taken, I’m betting they accept cryptocurrency. CC companies not getting the revenue makes zero difference to me. The comedy will continue to ensue once the same people applauding the CC companies for this move start trying to ban cryptocurrency.

I know you think you’re being clever, but you can shove this shit the same place as the other asstard who compared it to rolling your own web platform. It’s put up or shut up. The unfortunate thing is that you’ll do neither.


Re: Re: What?

Generalize! Let’s generalize! Doesn’t matter that we haven’t met enough people to actually merit saying anything about the group, or that groups are NOT monolithic entities. Everyone is different. Unless you want YOUR group disparaged and generalized against, don’t do it to others.

And science and faith are NOT incompatible (note I use faith instead of the word religion – they’re not same thing). They’re more intertwined than you think. "Science" that doesn’t allow for ALL possibilities, both natural and supernatural, isn’t science but naturalism. Science presumes NO conclusion ahead of time, not even that every explanation must be natural. And by the way, EVERYONE believes in something they can’t see. In fact, they believe in it so strongly they know they’d die without it even though it’s invisible and has no taste, smell, touch, or sound of its own but is merely a carrier for things that do. I’m talking about air, of course.

In quantum physics, a subatomic particle can be observed to be in multiple places at once, at multiple speeds at once, and even moving and not moving at the same time. If something we can detect can do all this, then it’s not really a stretch to say that a transcendent, extradimensional Creator could also exist in the same fashion, unbound by our four dimensions of space-time.

The Big Bang was basically an explosion, in essence, but what needs to be remembered is that the trigger that sets off any blast is always an external factor – in our terms, things like temperature, chemical interactions, impact, etc. By the same token, since the Big Bang made the universe, what set it off had to come from OUTSIDE the universe. Einstein himself recognized this and said as much.

The implication shows the existence of the aforementioned Creator, existing beyond our time and space but also constantly interacting with it. Both everywhere and everyWHEN – he has no past or future but is always NOW. That’s why Jesus said "I am" when asked if he was the same God who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. It wasn’t just a reference to what God called himself but also to his very nature.

All that aside (and I’m sorry I went on so long), while what MC’s doing isn’t necessarily right, neither is demonizing those you disagree with. And neither is demonizing a belief system because of how some prominent supposed members and groups act. Jesus himself said that you’ll know who is and isn’t his by their actions. That’s not a "No true Scotsman" excuse either. Because no group, as I’ve said, has members who are all alike and who act all the same. Judge the followers by the faith, not the faith by the supposed followers. Or better yet, don’t judge at all. You wouldn’t want it done to you.

That One Guysays:

Someone fetch my fainting couch!

Ridiculous ideas are by definition deserving of ridicule and when you’re got someone trying to get rid of all porn because they’re terrified of the naked body, consider it a ‘public health crisis’ and/or are under the delusion that no-one would be involved voluntarily ‘neutral’ is not going to cut it.



Oh yes, their beliefs are different than ours, so let’s bash them and call them disparaging names.

Yep, I’m good with calling those assholes names, especially when they’re trying to inject their beliefs into my porn. I’m not sure why they just can’t ignore it, since it’s something that doesn’t affect them unless they go looking for it, amirite?


Re: Re: Re: What?

The "god of the gaps" version of a deity, where anything not currently explained by science must be because of the magic man, is tiresome and useless to examine anything of import in one’s life. But, at least his influence wanes over time, as we explain the gaps he’s used to cover until something better comes along.

As long as people who believe the way you do let the rest of us live our own lives and not fight against knowledge when we manage to explain the real reason for a natural phenomenon your ancestors claimed must be due to a bronze age mythical creature, that’s fine. The problem is that so many of you do not. That you’ve decided that their sect and yours are different is no reason for me not to reject both of you.


Re: Re: Re: What?

"Science" that doesn’t allow for ALL possibilities, both natural and supernatural, isn’t science but naturalism.

Ooooh! I love it when someone brings this stupid-ass ‘argument’ up, like it’s some kind of revelation that allows for the injection of bullshit into science.

Science does already allow for all possibilities – your problem is that despite the possibility, there is still no proof.

Listen, I know some of you people want to debate semantics because your ‘faith’ is so fragile that if we don’t acknowledge it’s real in your head it’s weakened. I get it – how can you continue the god bullshit if the population of those who call it bullshit gets larger?

But this kind of shit is getting old. Just because you can’t explain something, it doesn’t automatically point to something that deems worship.


Re: Re: Re: What?

Or better yet, don’t judge at all. You wouldn’t want it done to you.

That’s pretty rich given that ‘Christians’ do it to any group that doesn’t adhere to their dogma. Just ask any LGBTQ person about how non-judgmental those good Christian folk are. If you ask them, they rely on their faith for their point of view.

If you’d like me to judge the followers on their faith, I’d say that their god is something of a prick.

Scary Devil Monasterysays:

Re: Re: Re: What?

"Generalize! Let’s generalize! Doesn’t matter that we haven’t met enough people to actually merit saying anything about the group, or that groups are NOT monolithic entities. Everyone is different. Unless you want YOUR group disparaged and generalized against, don’t do it to others."

Well, it certainly helps that every member of such a group most kindly shows up and demonstrates, chapter and verse, why you can safely assume the group as a whole consists of assholes.

When you stand up to be counted with the religious right? Congratulations, no one gives a shit if your personal opinion happens to not exactly be as outrageous as theirs. If you wore the swastika in 1935 no one gave a rat’s ass if you were honest old Karl Gruber heading home to loving wife and kids or Goebbels. If you marched in charlottesville no one gives a rats ass which of the Very Fine People you were with.

Wear the colors, shoulder that blame. It’s that simple.

"And science and faith are NOT incompatible"

Except every time science tells us something based on empirical observation and people who believe decide to ignore it and say it’s the other way around. Religious assholes have been the enemy of progress since well before the days of Galileo.

"If something we can detect can do all this, then it’s not really a stretch to say that a transcendent, extradimensional Creator could also exist in the same fashion, unbound by our four dimensions of space-time."

It actually is. We can measure that the particle exists. We can measure it’s possible different states. We know it’s mass and lifespan. We know it’s tresholds of excitation. We know what it’s composed of and its role in what we perceive as matter. We can find out, with a great degree of accuracy, under which conditions it will change.

An almighty invisible transcendent creator? Never perceived, observed, or implied. As imaginary and with all the empirical observation provided by the Flying Spaghetti Monster or that invisible unicorn I’m sure is to blame for always leaving the garden gate unlocked.

" but what needs to be remembered is that the trigger that sets off any blast is always an external factor"

…like "being the other side of a black hole" or a set of vacuum fluctuations which, it has to be recalled, are completely random.
What little we know of the conditions before the Big Bang suggests that we can not posit any theories – but the idea intelligent life is behind it has, from everything we can know and extrapolate, less backing than the idea it’s all a random outcome.

"The implication shows the existence of the aforementioned Creator…"
…if we ignore all of observable reality and substitute our own, yes. Otherwise, no.

"And neither is demonizing a belief system because of how some prominent supposed members and groups act."

Organized religion is behind every last one of the most outrageous and persistent atrocities in the world. It has been the bane of science and progress everywhere.

"Judge the followers by the faith, not the faith by the supposed followers."

Not when the faith in question can be seen as the core reason so much of the world is shit today, no. At that point you have to ask "What the hell were these supposedly different followers doing?".
Answer? They stood up to wear the same color and proudly proclaim adherence.
They chose to keep silent when the "prominent members" led them in a crusade against rationality and reason.

"Or better yet, don’t judge at all. You wouldn’t want it done to you."

That’s where we differ.
When I’m wrong or acting like an asshole, I certainly appreciate it being pointed out. That helps me be a better person. And from what I’ve seen and heard the secular do this a whole damn sight better than religious people.

Religious people, from what I’ve read and experienced, react to any revelation which doesn’t fit their narrative in ways ranging from, at best, casual dismissal or ostracism, to at worst, burning the blasphemer alive.

From blind denial of geocentricity, sanitation benefits and evolution, to resistance versus medicine, law enforcement, equality and climate science, the religious have been in the forefront, leading the crowd and whipping up the congregation in malice. Every. Damn. Time.

Where the hell were these faithful who so proudly wore the colors and proclaimed their faith? Hiding at the back? Turning a blind eye? Oh, sitting like the german citizenry and quietly keeping their peace lest they be noticed?

The safe space for the religious is gone. And you have none to blame for that but yourselves. No one wants to hear fairytales forcefullt inserted into a scientific debate revolving around observed fact or posit that we need to take something untouchable and unnoticeable into account when dealing with real world issues.
So if you want to not be judged, Stop Doing That. It’s that simple.

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